A guide to your new levelling amplifier plugin
One of the most revered valve-based outboard processors of all time, the Teletronix LA-2A Leveling Amplifier has long been highly regarded by virtue of its transparent response, musical sound and foolproof operational simplicity. IK Multimedia’s White 2A is a superb virtual emulation of the LA-2A that works as a module in the company’s T-RackS 5 host ‘shell’ mastering system, and additionally as an individual plugin in your VST/AU/AAXcompatible DAW. Even better than that, though, is that it’s now yours for free, only with this issue of ComputerMusic.
An optical compressor, the LA-2A is known for its smooth, comparatively languid response. The input signal level controls the brightness of an electro-luminescent panel, which then shines on a photosensitive resistor. As the input gets louder and the panel gets brighter, the impedance of the resistor increases with it, lowering the gain – ie, applying compression.
With no adjustable timing controls, a big part of the LA-2A’s sound is its frequency-dependent attack (averaging around 10ms) and multi-stage release, which takes about 60ms to reach 50% release, and a further 1-15 seconds to complete, depending on the amount of compression being applied. White 2A emulates all this with amazing accuracy, and adds mid-side operation to the original formula.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to put the LA-2A to use, using White 2A as our stand-in, from the specifics of its controls to some of the techniques for which it’s known.